Is there No Way Home, Spiderman?

What happens when an IP tries to imitate its past? The latest entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe takes inspiration from the past and the future.

Phase four has driven us towards the multiverse with hiccups and missteps. Loki did it one way, Doctor Strange another. Ultimately there should be an internal logic that makes sense throughout the films. You could get into that, but it would defeat the purpose of entertainment.

So who is your favourite Live-Action Spiderman? Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire told a different story. One where every swing of the wall-crawler across New York City was the first of its kind on a large screen. Exciting, impactful and full of emotion. But after a few days of reading other people’s opinions on Twitter, Rotten Tomatoes and whatnot, I feel like people have this incredible recency bias that compels them to rate the latest adventure as the best. I feel like over time, as we move away from this initial hype, it will come down as a very derivative movie relying heavily on what came before. I mean, think about it. In terms of Peter’s story, he is often secondary to other characters on screen doing the cool stuff. First, J. Jonah Jameson reveals his identity to the world, then MIT decides to not take them in for their undergraduate programme. Then Doctor Strange casts the spell that breaks reality. Then Aunt May convinces Peter to try to cure the previous generations villains. Then previous Spider-Men take all the applause as they appear in a muddled way due to nostalgia, then Willem Dafoe stops Peter from trying to save MJ which gives Andrew Garfield some closure. The point is, what incredible thing did Tom Holland’s Peter Parker do? Nothing but be a passive protagonist.

It did feel like a fan made this film. It broke box office records, but I think it will not stay in the lexicon for any of its current moments. All the cheer and excitement was to see the previous two SpiderMen come back to dawn their costumes. Another point of frustration is that they underplay so many of the seemingly unbelievable events with a silly joke. No one would behave like that if an actual person from another universe visited.
Perhaps they don’t believe in their verisimilitude. The MCU-Sony Spiderman films have not been my favourites. That’s because I have felt the first iterations to be good enough and definitive. For example, if you admire a word, dream about how you’d feel if you too had tiny spikes in your hand that make you crawl on walls, then someone would come and say that look, that thing you loved is now something else, something new, you’d feel weirded out as well. Cinema greats like Martin Scorcese and others who have raised concerns about Marvel movies do have a point when they say that these kinds of films are not cinema. They feel like theme park rides where they don’t seem to have any relatable consequences as any threat could be CGI’d away instantly.

Their stakes don’t seem high enough for the main characters, even though the world around them is folding onto itself in the mirror dimension. With a great past comes a mediocre imitative present but a hopeful future.

Spiderman Homecoming — A Retrospective

The battle of New York in Marvel’s first Avengers films has had an impact on all earth bound MCU movies, since it did happen, in 2012. Also every studio feels the pressure of making a cinematic universe now. So to be able to contain a “story” within one movie nowadays is becoming a rare thing. The recent wonder woman movie handled it best by book ending the film by a voice over and virtual communication with Bruce Wayne.

The first thing that hits you about Spiderman Homecoming is the youthful gushing energy of the character that’s so reminiscent of the comics. The world is based in smartphones and YouTube which grounds the film to a level which is a fresh change from cosmic or Greek God adventures. We know we’ll go back to that (In November) but this story is about a high school kid and who doesn’t like that? Now I want this to be a change of format cause I’m split on this film.

Spoilers ahead:

The Good

The best scene of the film is with Tom Holland, Laura Harrier (Liz, the girl who plays the crush) and ‘The Birdman’ himself Micheal Keaton in a car. The simple nature of shots of the great actor as his understanding of the detail (That apparently random kid, Peter Parker is Spiderman) changes is phenomenal storytelling. The highest possible quality for me. Also the pacing, is smooth throughout the film. My IMAX screening was without an interval yet I didn’t look at my watch once which is always a good sign. Most times 3D is annoying still but looking down the Washington Monument Sequence gave me a physical reaction of trying to find my ground while looking down how far the ground is and the next shot was Spiderman doing just that. I love the fact that this film is about growing up with real life problems of being a kid and dealing with an aunt and her life and dealing with friends and girls in high school. The fact that all his friends think he is a douche bag but he’s only doing the right thing by leaving them at a party when a explosion happens nearby. That’s a tough choice for anyone who knows his potential. This is what makes Spiderman unique from other heroes and these are the gods we do worship in modern times so.

Other things that I thought were cool

Genetic diversity

The Suit and the fact that Jennifer Connelly (married to Paul Bettany aka Vision aka Jarvis) gives the OS Voice.

Robert Downey Jr. being a bad-ass and Gwyneth Paltrow “peppered” in.

The Bad

The fact that this isn’t a self contained story and all threads will move on to the other films sucks. I don’t like it. I wanna complain about it. This feels like a TV episode where things happen but almost nothing is resolved. I don’t know if this is unfortunate or if this is the “new way” some films will be. The third act showdown in the night sky, on the plane is generic to say the least with no real stakes explained or expressed. This Spiderman film does not still have that moment or the emotional heart we’ve come to expect in Spiderman films. Looking back at Spiderman 2 where it played out in a operatic fashion with a ticking clock and something scientific at stake (like clean free nuclear energy at the cost of an egotistical and equally brilliant scientist, Doc Ock played brilliantly by Alfred Molina). I do feel this film does not not have ‘that’ moment.

P.S. Chris Evans as Captain America is the boss.